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Vermaas 18th in Nanjing after bike crash
- Updated: August 17, 2014
By Mark Etheridge
in Nanjing, China
Team South Africa opened their 2014 Youth Olympic Games here on Sunday with an 18th spot finish by Jayme-Sue Vermaas in the girls’ triathlon final.
Competing at the picturesque Xuanwu Lake venue, the Bloemfontein athlete ended midway down the field of 32 finishers with a time of 1hr 04min 39sec.
It could have been so much better, had it not been for a crash on the tricky bike leg after she had opened with a solid swim.
The 750m swim leg had seen her exit the lake in 15th spot with a time of 10min 31sec, just 26sec off the pace. That put her in the second bunch as the field tackled the 20km bike leg.
But any aspirations of a podium place, or top 10 at least, wilted as she went down at a turning circle surrounded by blossoming flowers. She was left to pick up her bike, and the pieces of her race, with nothing but personal and national pride to race for.
Her bike leg was 33:24, +1:24 off the pace being set by eventual winner Brittany Dutton of Australia.
Her run leg of 19:34 was 14th fastest on the day and her eventual tie was 4:43 behind Dutton.
Explaining the crash that put her out of contention, Vermaas, a former Modern Pentathlon champion, said: ‘My back wheel just slipped out from me and I went down. I hurt my hip a bit and it must have put me back about a minute I guess.’ Her right knee also bore some battle scars.
‘I was doing OK until then. I was happy with the swim but in a race like this if you crash like I did and miss the bunch you’re gone. I tried as hard as I could but they were gone and I was riding solo for a good bit.
‘I think I would have had a good chance at top 10 if I hadn’t crashed but that’s just how things go.’
Team SA’s other triathlete, Nathan le Roux, will line up in Tuesday’s men’s race at the same venue.
Sunday morning also saw qualifying in the pool, over at the Natatorium, adjacent to the Olympic Stadium.
Marlies Ross won the fourth and final heat in 2min 15.45sec to see her through to the final of the 200m individual medley later in the evening.
Freestyler Brent Szurdoki failed to advance to the final of the 400m when he ended seventh in heat four with a time of 3:56.84.
In the women’s 50m breaststroke semi-final, Justine McFarlane is second reserve after a time of 32.85 in the heats.
The men’s 100m backstroke semi-final 2 will see Christopher Reid in lane six after a qualifying swim of 56.25.
Jarred Crous is also in semi-final action, his 62:53 in the heats securing him lane three in the 100m breaststroke semi-final 2.
The mixed 4x100m freestyle relay team of Christopher Reid, Ross, Josh Steyn and Nathania van Niekerk failed to qualify for the evening final, with their time of 3:40.81 only good for fifth position in heat three.
Out at the Laoshan Mountain Bike Course, Maia Rawlins failed to progress in the mountain bike XCE category as she ended 21st of 30 in the eliminator seeding event. Her final placing was 16th overall of 32 riders and the team’s male rider, Alex Limberg placed 19th, also out of 32 riders.
Pictures by Wessel Oosthuizen/SASPA. Pictures of Team South Africa’s campaign at the 2014 Youth Olympics are free for downloading on www.sascocimages.co.za.